I was introduced to Blue Rodeo in the spring of 1988. They played a gig during my school's (Lake Forest College in Illinois) spring wing-ding weekend (you know the type). While most of spoiled preps ignored them, they blasted out a series of smart, honest, hook-filled songs that left me transfixed. After they ended their set with a mind-bending, feedback-filled 10-minute freakout jam, my roommate and I approached them to let them know that some people appreciate good music. They were great -- Greg and Jim chatted with us and their road manager gave us a cassette of the first album, "Outskirts." I thought it was tremendous then and I still do today. Imagine if -- back in the spring of 1966 -- John Lennon and Paul McCartney had hooked up with Bob Dylan and the Band. That's basically the sound and feel of Blue Rodeo on "Outskirts", and its successors, "Diamond Mine" and "Casino". After that, they started to grow more in the so-called "alt-country" direction, which isn't really my bag, I'm afraid. But their first three albums are classic rock music.